Let me tell you a story. On July 5th of 2016, I arrived at Max Watt’s while the opening band from the Fall Of Troy tour was soundchecking. They kicked into a song and I instantly fell in love with their sound. It’s not often at all that a band can steal my attention on first listen, let alone within half a track, but they did. The song was “Make The Call” and that band was Osaka Punch, a funk-laden heavy rock quartet hailing from Brisbane, Australia.

Fast forward a year or so and the Osaka Punch lads are about to hit the road to tour the country on the back of their newly-released – and extremely delectable – new single, ‘How We Operate’. I gave the bass-wielding Brenton Page a call to find out a little about the track and who they’re bringing along for the ride.

“The hardcore Osaka Punch fans have given it a thumb’s up, which is always pretty important,” he pointed out, “I mean, it’s obviously not on constant rotation on Triple J or anything like that, but we’re happy with how it’s been accepted so far.” I was curious about the background of the writing process and he gave me a peek behind the curtain. “Pretty much, we wrote the instrumental side of it, as we usually do with Osaka Punch – we write the music and then Jack [Venables, vocalist] sits with it for a while and writes his vocals to it. This one was a kind of weird and funny one: We wrote it and Jack, when he’s not playing in Osaka Punch, he’s a wedding photographer. He has his own business, so he had a wedding to shoot overseas. He said, ‘Oh, send it over to me and on the flight over, I’ll start trying to think of lyrics.’” Brenton then went on to tell me about a brief stopover that Jack had in Manila, where he found himself looking for a quiet place to write his part of the song before unknowingly wandering into a sex motel. His experience in this bizarre circumstance was the foundation for the words that ended up in the track. “There is no really deep kinda meaning lyrically behind the song. It was like, ‘Holy shit, I don’t know how I’ve gotten myself into this situation, but I’m here.’ They were the lyrics that just came to him that day, so we rolled with it. It’s a pretty funny story to tell.”

“Our plan is to release a full-length album next year, and until then, we’re going to trickle-feed a few singles from it,” he continues, “This is the first single off the album, and we’ll probably release another one early next year, and then we may do one more or we might just go straight to the album. It just depends on our timeline.” When I asked more about the plan, he said, “We just want to try and get the most life out of it. You drop an album and it kinda has a life expectancy on it – you can tour it a couple of times, but then people are wanting the next stuff. We don’t wanna blow our load too fuckin’ soon. You can tour a single…you can tour for any reason, man, but it’s nice to have a reason. If we’ve got a new single out, bam! Let’s tour it. Let’s get it out there.”

Maintaining relevance is crucial in this day and age, something that Osaka Punch are well aware of, but they also understand the importance of touring appropriately. “You can tour yourself to death these days, but if you don’t do it smartly, you’re going to kill your band financially. I would love to be able to tour for the rest of my life, but it doesn’t work like that anymore unless you’ve got something to tour.”

The tour kicks off later this month and they’re bringing along Newcastle electro-instrumentalists, Majora, who are touring their sophomore EP ‘Aphotic’ and Melbourne alt-rockers, Rival Fire, who have just released their debut effort ‘War’. It struck me as odd that three releases would be celebrated in one tour, but there was good reason. “We’re a Brisbane-based band and our fanbase in Brisbane is quite good, so we don’t have trouble pulling people in Brisbane – it’s our hometown, which is great. Our goal at the moment is to get the same following in other cities. So, when we were [planning] this tour, we thought, ‘we can do a headline tour to all these places, but we still don’t have as big a following as we do in Brisbane’, so we thought, ‘let’s be smart about this and not be precious, and when we go to Melbourne, let’s get a local band – even if they’re more popular than us – to headline and we’ll be main support.’ At least then, you’re guaranteed to have people show up to your show. For us it was just a smart way to do it – we don’t have to headline every show. I’d rather play main support in front of 200 people than headline to 20.”

 

“That was our approach, and then we tried to think of what bands to choose. We’d done some touring with Rival Fire and it just worked out really well, because they’d just released their album and their tour met up with our tour, which then met up with Majora’s tour. It was just perfect – we’ve all got releases, let’s do a tour and whoever is biggest in that city is the headliner.” Their west-coast touring partners also fit the same plan, with prog-metal stalwarts – and Osaka Punch labelmates –Voyager taking the lead on the tail end of the tour. “We have played Western Australia before, but it’s really our first time going over there on our own tour, so we wanted to get the best Perth band we could think of to make it worthwhile. It’s not cheap flying to Perth, so you’ve got to do the best you can to make it the best show possible, and if that means playing main support to Voyager, then sign us up.”

The video for ‘How We Operate’ is nearly done, with only a tiny bit more filming to do before it hits the editing room, and it was hinted that there’s set to be a cameo from a familiar face to Australian alt-metal fans – something you’ll just have to wait for, but not for too long. “We wanted it ready for the start of the tour, and it still may happen. If all goes to plan, it’ll be released in the early stages of the tour.”

Early next year, the boys are joining the long-awaited reunion tour of The Butterfly Effect with original vocalist Clint Boge. “Glen [The Butterfly Effect bass guitarist] and I have been friends for years. I used to go to school with his brother. Around the time that [TBE] went on hiatus, Clint, Glen & I played in a band together called The Given Things. That’s how they know about Osaka Punch. When I got wind that they were talking about reforming for a tour, I had to at least put our name in the hat. I didn’t expect anything, but I wanted to let them know that we’re keen. I got our booking agent [Josh, Beardfoot] to email Yogi [TBE tour manager], and it worked out that we got on the tour!”

You can catch Osaka Punch on their How They Operate tour, in all of these places:

Oct 14 – The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne w/ Rival Fire, Majora, City Halls
Oct 20 – Enigma Bar, Adelaide w/ Rival Fire, Terminal Zero, Twitch
Oct 27 – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle w/ Majora, Lese Majesty, Ceilings
Oct 28 – The Factory Floor, Sydney w/ Majora, Genetics, Lese Majesty
Oct 29 – Rad Bar, Wollongong w/ Majora, Swamp Road, Dune Messiah
Nov 3 – The Brightside, Brisbane w/ Majora, Rival Fire, He Danced Ivy
Nov 11 – Solbar, Maroochydore w/ Hobo Magic, The Unknowns
Nov 23 – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury w/ Voyager
Nov 24 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River w/ Voyager
Nov 25 – The Sewing Room, Perth w/ Voyager, Statues, Yomi Ship